Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate this post. No other compensation was received. All opinions are mine.

San Antonio mom blogger Traci Smith publishes new book: Seamless Faith, simple practices for daily life

{GIVEAWAY: be sure to enter at the bottom of this post for your chance to win a copy of Seamless Faith: Simple Practices for Daily Family Life.}

Several years ago, I wrote a post about raising kids without religion. I described the challenge of fostering within my children a spiritual connection to God even though I don’t have a strong religious affiliation. In the years since writing that post, I’ve often wondered how good of a job I’m doing. Do my kids understand what and who God is? Will they turn to Him in both joy and in sadness and seek love, safety, and solace in His presence? Do they appreciate the wonder of God in their lives and in the world around them? 

When San Antonio mom blogger and minister Traci Smith told me about her new book, Seamless Faith: Simple Practices for Daily Family Life, I knew I wanted to read it. If I could find new ways to deepen my children’s faith (and my own) through simple, meaningful acts, I wanted to learn more.

Faith is learned as it is woven seamlessly into the fabric of daily life.”
– Traci Smith

Written with both church-going parents and non-church-goers in mind, Traci offers 50 different ways we can continue to bring faith into our everyday and special occasions. These ideas are separated into seven sections: Traditions for Every Day, Traditions for Holidays, Ceremonies for Marking Life’s Transitions, Anointing Our Sick Children, Spiritual Practices, Ancient Spiritual Practices, and Other Spiritual Practices.

I loved Traci’s supportive, nonjudgmental, common sense tone throughout the book. She writes about faith as something accessible to all of us and not, instead, something we should lock away, only to bring out on Sunday mornings. Traci reminds us that faith and our love for God is alive and on display continually during time with our family. We bring our faith into the bedroom with us when we tuck in our kids. We can make gratitude a part of our shared meals. We can bestow blessings upon our child when she gets her driver’s license, or when our son starts his first day of school. Our faith is naturally a part of our traditional celebrations like Christmas and other holidays. But, we also lean on it when we lose a pet, or beloved friend or family member, or we experience a traumatic event like divorce. Traci suggests readers pick and choose among her 50 ideas to bring faith into their families in the ways that make the most sense to them.

…the ideas in Seamless Faith are written like a script…follow the script very closely, or use it as a guide to create [your] own traditions, ceremonies, and spiritual practices.”

Traci answered some of my burning questions about faith, spirituality and her new book.

I love how you wrote this book with both church-going and non-church going families in mind. For parents who are spiritual but not necessarily religious, how can this book help them connect their children to God?

Research suggests that children form their own ideas about God whether or not they are a part of a church or religious community. Children are also naturally sensitive to spiritual things as they open themselves up to imagination, spirit and wonder. By latching on to this normal part of their faith development, it’s possible for parents to nurture their children’s spirituality even if they’re not a part of a faith community, and Seamless Faith gives very practical ideas for how to do that. The activities are rooted in my Reformed Christian tradition, but there are examples of practices that are influenced by the Jewish and Buddhist faiths as well as spiritualities from around the world. Parents can choose which practice might resonate most with the ideas and values they want their children to understand. The great thing about the book is that there are almost 50 practices to choose from. Every family is bound to find a few that work for them.

What do you tell parents who grew up uncertain in their faith and who now, as adults, feel unqualified to teach their kids about leading a faith-based and spiritually rich life?

The first thing I say is, “You are not alone!” I, as a seminary-trained pastor, have these same concerns and worries. What if I do it wrong? Guiding a child’s spiritual formation is a weighty task. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it, sometimes. Sure, it’s a big responsibility, but so is keeping them safe and warm and fed and clothed, and we manage it, with God’s help. We as parents need to give ourselves a break and trust that we know more than they think we do. Even a simple thing like saying, “Isn’t it amazing to think that God made the trees and the stars and the flowers?” can be a profound spiritual moment between parents and children. You can do it!

What advice do you have for parents whose beliefs differ greatly from one another and how they might consider expressing this in a positive way to their children?

I would say to recognize it as a huge asset and opportunity. Just like children who grow up in bilingual homes have the opportunity to be fluent in two languages, so do children in families with multiple belief systems have the opportunity to be exposed to both. Children who grow up with two sets of belief systems have the opportunity to practice the values of tolerance, respect, and dialog.

Win a copy of San Antonio mom blogger Traci Smith's new book, Seamless Faith: Simple Practices for Daily Family Life

If you had to choose just one, which seamless, yet meaningful activity should parents add to daily family life?

This is like asking a mother to choose her favorite child, or a teacher to choose his favorite student! Impossible! If I had to choose just one, though, I think I might chose the practice of The Sacred Meal. It’s a simple practice of acknowledging that the time spent together around the table is holy and special. It’s inspired, in many ways, by the practice of the Shabbat meal, a Jewish practice. I think it’s the perfect example of the concept of seamless because, as a friend of mine used to say, “Everybody’s gotta eat!” Why not make a little extra effort to make something ordinary into a holy occasion?

Tell us more about your Faith and Family monthly newsletter. What can subscribers expect to receive and how is it different from the book?

Each month subscribers will receive a free download of some kind that goes along with the principles of Seamless Faith. In February, we did “50 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day as a Family.” In March, we focused on a Lenten practice. This month, we’re sharing an Easter activity with butterflies. In addition to the free downloads there are links to other children’s books, movies, or other resources that are of interest to people who are interested in this type of easy and seamless approach to spirituality at home. Subscribers are free to opt out any time and can sign up easily and securely.

Seamless Faith: Simple Practices for Daily Family Life is available here from Chalice Press.

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